Northern Territory carers overlooked in new Concession Scheme

The peak membership body for unpaid carers in the Northern Territory is disappointed with the Government’s release today of an overhauled concession scheme for pensioners, concession holders and carers in the Northern Territory.

Carers NT CEO Steve Vitone said that he feared that carers had been overlooked in the new scheme.

“With an estimated 30,000 carers in the Northern Territory it is disappointing that Minister Wakefield has not directly addressed their needs in the release of the new scheme.

“It appears there is a true lack of understanding of the valuable role carers provide in our communities. Carers become social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, case managers, physios, couriers – the list goes on – on behalf of their loved ones. They give up their social life, employment and well-being to support a loved one, and this is the way they are treated,” he said.

Carers NT was advised this morning that carers currently accessing the concession scheme will continue to receive the benefits of the concession card but new carers on the carer allowance will not be eligible to apply. Those on the carer payment will not be affected.

“Why should carers who are working or studying and therefore only receiving the carer allowance not the carer payment, be disadvantaged?”

“Unpaid carers are the backbone of valuable support for recipients whose lives are impacted by disability, mental or terminal illness, age or frailty. The cost to the community and government if converted to federal government expenditure would be in the billions, and millions for Northern Territory Treasury.

“The Minister this morning stressed that the scheme would be accessible for all Territorians but it does not make sense to place an insignificant to zero value on the true worth of a carer and diminish their ability to receive fair and equitable access to concessions that will assist the family unit in a positive manner,” Mr Vitone said.

Media enquiries: Jeannette Button on 0407 727 080, [email protected]